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European Championships Berlin, Day 7 Heats

Aug 24, 2014  - James Parrack

Day 7 Heats

Just four events on the final morning in Berlin and the news was that Italy crashed out of the heats of the 4x100m medley relay after backstroker Niccolo Bonnacchi suffered under the wheel of a roof here in the velodrome (why are we in a velodrome again.. oh yes, a few more spectators can fit in.)

Swimming in the first of the two heats, the Italian was a clear leader up the first 50, turning in 26.23, and a second clear of their main rivals Russia.  Then the drama: half way down the second 50, Bonnacchi veered into the lane line and his right arm came crashing down on the line meaning that he couldn’t make the pull for a stroke or two.  He stalled badly and the team went from first to last in the space of 10m, eventually recording a 57.45 and two seconds off the pace.

Italy missed the final by 0.74sec finishing 10th. France lead the way in front of Hungary, Germany then Great Britain, who will have to pick up the pace in the final if they are to challenge for the medals let alone challenge for a title they have never won.  Swimming with Walker Hebborn (winner of the 100m back), Ross Murdoch (second in the 100m breast) Adam Barrett (fourth in the 100m fly) and Stephen Milne (6th in the 400m free) is still a strong team, that were over two seconds down on a French team that has Stravius (2nd in the 100 back) and Gilot or Manaudou to come in on free (2nd and 1st respectively).  The word from the French is that it will be Gilot, with the big man focusing on the final of the 50m free and his third individual gold.

In the women’s 4x100 medley relay, Denmark are the team to beat.  The Danes have never won a medal in this event in the history of the European championships, and lead the Dutch team into the final by 1.46 sec. The Dutch, whose meagre return in this event is 4 bronze medals in the last 30 years, are in second, Inge Dekker’s 57.4 fly split the pick of the bunch,with Sweden lurking in third and Sjoestroem still to come into the team.  For Britain, the leading nation at these championships, Sophie Taylor swam a 1:08.05 for the breaststroke leg, after swimming virtually nothing all week.  Taylor, the Commonwealth champion suffered a car crash after the Games, but was declared fit to swim in Berlin.  GBR are fourth fastest and watch out for Italy, with three substitutinos to come, who are 5th into the final.

The women’s 400m free is led by Pellegrini.  All the top swimmers comfortably into the final in 4:07 to 4:09.  Belmonte, the winner of the 1500m, fought with the Italian in heat two and with neither swimmer giving an inch, came off second best in the touch by 0.03sec to qualify second fastest.  800m winner Jazmin Carlin is fouth.  10k open water winner Sharon Rouwendaal (NED) had a strong finish from the final heat to finish in third overall.

With no Laszlo Cseh in the 400IM, it was his Hungarian team mate David Verraszto who led the qualifiers into tonight’s final with 4:16.78, followed by Britain’s Roberto Pavoni.  It was a classic set of heats in the 400IM with the largely different race strategies and stroke techniques to enjoy, and ruined by the music that was played throughout.  And only for the 400IMs.  Which clearly are so boring to watch, we need to be entertained with a little light music.

James Parrack is a swimming commentator for Eurosport and co-founder of the BEST Swim Centre, Mallorca